Ricciardi combines humor with photography

Ricciardi combines humor with photography

ne Sunday morning, four kids ran around a vintage convertible outside of a Durand, Wisconsin, theater. A golden retriever sat in the backseat, a clown juggled in the background, a passerby looked on judgmentally and a man skulked by with a guitar while a trooper directed traffic.

But the kids weren’t in Durand. In fact, they were on Washington Street in downtown Binghamton.

Mike Ricciardi, a professional photographer and drummer for Badfinger, set up the series of shots separately and put them all together for Biesterveld’s “Somewhere in Durand” album cover.

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For this shot, Ricciardi used the City of Binghamton’s assistance to shut down Washington Street. While the policeman (Ricciardi’s cousin) and the children were photographed together, he captured the theater, clown, woman and guitarist at separate times.

“To do this stuff, you can’t do it alone,” Ricciardi said.

This is typical of Ricciardi’s shots, which are often action-filled, humorous and take teamwork.

“I want everything to have a sense of humor in it somewhere,” said Ricciardi, who lists the work of Norman Rockwell among his inspirations.

Mike Ricciardi shot a portion of Biesterveld's "Somewhere

Mike Ricciardi shot a portion of Biesterveld’s “Somewhere in Durand” album on Washinton Street in Binghamton.

A behind-the-scenes shot of Mike Ricciardi's photograph

A behind-the-scenes shot of Mike Ricciardi’s photograph for Biesterveld’s “Somewhere in Durand” album gives a peek into what went into producing the album cover.

Ricciardi began seriously photographing about eight years ago after purchasing a camera to photograph his daughter’s high school tennis matches. Since then, he shot the album cover art for artists and bands including Paris Landing, Pinecone Fletcher, Jeff Gilkinson and Robert Miranda. Most recently, Riccardi designed the cover for Foghat’s latest album, “Under the Influence,” released in June 2016.

Ricciardi does all of the work for the album covers: assembling teams to create props and costumes, building set pieces, editing the image and sometimes driving across the country to get that perfect shot that meets the musician’s vision.

“It’s kind of interesting working with these people because they all have their own thing” Ricciardi said.

When shooting the album art for his late best friend Billy Davis, of Paris Landing, he was inspired by Davis’ toaster collection. The album, aptly named “TOAST!” featured a series of both humorous and serious shots revolving around the breakfast food.

“We were naming the album toast, so why not have as much toast as you can?” Ricciardi said.

Ricciardi bought four loaves of bread for one particular shot, taken at Elsie’s Diner in Binghamton. The photograph featured a play on the word toast: a chaotic scene in which a woman drops toast while two men toast their sodas and a young boy sticks a fork inside a toaster.

“And here’s the punchline,” Ricciardi said. “You’ve got a kid putting a fork in a toaster, so he’s toast.”

TOAST! by Mike Ricciardi was shot at Elsie's Diner

The piece won the 2015 award for Best in Show in the Bob Johnston Photography Show and Competition and was hung in the August 2016 “Art of Binghamton” exhibition at Roberson Museum and Science Center.

Another shot taken for the album was a more subdued shot of Davis inside of his home alongside his toaster collection.

The Collector, by Mike Ricciardi, features his late

In addition to shooting album covers, Ricciardi has also photographed the Spiedie Fest & Balloon Rally’s live events, Binghamton High School’s Rod Serling School of Fine Arts productions and Foghat’s concerts.

In the future, he hopes to produce products including coffee mugs, calendars and a book of photographs.

“If I put something out, I don’t want it to be something that’s already out there,” Ricciardi said. “I want it to be something that’s just different.”